Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin began teaching defensive driving classes in Mt. Juliet while he was a police officer in 1989, and for the past eight years he has taught at traffic schools in Lebanon.
Those who have learned from him say he is one traffic school instructor who creates an enjoyable experience. Martin believes people find his classes enjoyable because of the passion he puts into his teaching.
“I have a passion for it, and unfortunately as a police officer, I’ve worked a lot of wrecks where people have been killed and seriously injured,” Martin said of his passion for sharing the importance of defensive driving with others.
Martin gave his definition of defensive driving as “being alert at all times, that your No. 1 task is driving and when multitasking that you ask yourself if you are prepared to pay the consequences of what you are doing.”
Martin said while he lacks many talents, such as singing, dancing and good looks, he believes he has a good style for sharing the information that he does.
“I think it’s sincere; I think its passion; I think it’s a calling for me, and I think that when you are passionate about something, it shows," Martin said. "I want it to be an exchange of information for folks that all have them same thing to lose. I want them to leave knowing how blessed they are.”
The way Martin sees it, he is not as much teaching a class as he is sharing information to keep others safe.
“I just like sharing something that I have experienced and dealt with in my lifetime with somebody simply because I care so much that I don’t want to see them get hurt,” he said.
Martin said he has had to deliver bad news from traffic accidents an unacceptable amount of times and wants to do everything that he can to keep that from happening.
Martin’s teaching focuses on keeping people safe, but another goal that he stresses is that people know that others depend upon them.
“I want to make them think about themselves in a selfish way and say ‘even if I don’t care about myself, there are people that depend on me and care for me,’" he said. "I want them to understand how blessed they are and how fragile life is.”
The way Martin hopes his classes can be described as are entertaining, thought provoking and life changing.
“If one person comes up to me after class and thanks me, it makes me happy to know that I reached at least one person that night,” he said.
Martin stressed he is happy for the opportunity to teach traffic school in Lebanon, as well as previously in Mt. Juliet, but that to him it’s not about just Lebanon or Mt. Juliet, but about the community as a whole and keeping them safe.